Stop thanking me for being polite when I’m angry about injustice and focus on the injustice instead

So there is this “compliment” that well-meaning people lob at me when I write conscientiously about social ills that infuriate me. I write about something deeply painful, troubling and/or problematic in our society in my own fairly measured way that feels innate to me and is not in any way meant to say anything about the deservedness of my politeness as it relates to thing that is problematic or people supporting or engaging in problematic behaviors and without fail someone, sometimes many someones, will thank me for being, “so polite.”

Instead of sharing my outrage at the initial and underlying…

A brief reflection on an iconic lyric and a reminder that Black men and boys are beautiful too

In the 1994 remix of “One More Chance,” The Notorious B.I.G. lists in great detail his effortless finesse with women of all races and ethnicities. The classic cut samples El DeBarge’s “Stay With Me” and features his wife, Faith Evans, and Mary J. Blige on background vocals. It’s partly comical, partly offensive, and all NSFW. Still, apart from a beat that lingers, a few lines really stick with you.

Momentarily putting aside glaring concerns with misogyny in hip-hop, I’ve spent perhaps an inordinate amount of time considering the social influences that led Biggie to rhyme “Heartthrob, never/Black and ugly as…

Humans 101

Your curiosity does not take precedence over another person’s comfort

Painting of many colors.
Painting of many colors.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me why people of color often get defensive when White people ask where they are from. She had a new friend whose heritage she was unsure of. She genuinely wanted to learn more about him and asked where he was from. Her question led to a disagreement, hurt feelings, and offense on both sides.

For people who don’t fit the stereotypical social expectations of an American identity—whether because of their skin color, accent, or any number of factors—this question can come up a lot.

And it’s almost always a White person who asks.


How this mother is challenging the way we celebrate Black history

Each year during Black History Month I share this letter that I wrote to my local library as a concerned parent in 2017. The library responded graciously and favorably and we have collaborated on the Black History Month display each year since. I share the letter because the message is always relevant and I hope it can challenge some common conceptions about what Black History Month is, remove constraints around the idea of what Black history is, and encourage others to raise awareness in their communities about Black history. …

Enslaved Africans Were Treated More Like Disposable Technology Than Human Beings

Like many human beings, I start my day with a cup of coffee, and like an increasing number of us, I check in with one of the four virtual assistants in my home as I do so. What’s on my calendar? Give me the news. Play NPR. What’s the weather like today? Sometimes, especially if my children are present, I say please and thank you. Often times, I don’t.

I don’t have cable and, during the coronavirus pandemic, I have found myself increasingly dependent on Alexa, Siri, Google and Bixby for basic information and access to the kind of thoughtful…

Movement of Thought is Just as Important Action

I have survived two of Life’s Great Tests in my life. I won’t go into detail about them because it doesn’t really matter what they are because no matter who you are, where you live, or what your beliefs, if any at all, you will likely encounter periods of prolonged upheaval and even sometimes physical and/or emotional pain or suffering in your life. Sometimes these Tests will come at once in the form of all three.

There are of course the usual small inconveniences and short spurts of disruption that frustrate and deter us usually temporarily from our chosen paths…

A few days ago it was Leonardo DiCaprio’s birthday. He deserves flowers not just for his lovely face, but for his inexhaustible efforts to save our planet from us and for his ability to embody every character he has ever played with nuance and charm. There is so much excellent DiCaprio work to choose from. But, if I could have given him accolades in the form of his well deserved first Oscar for just one, it would be in his turn as true villain, Calvin Candie, in 2012’s Django Unchained.

I have been intermittently haunted by that scene in Django…

An Election Day Reflection

Who are we, America?

Are we as beautiful as we claim to be or some ugly, wretched, monstrous else?

Are we the embodiment of our promises of liberty inscribed on our statue? The safe haven for the tired, poor, huddled masses, wretched refuse, homeless and tempest-tost or not?

Who are we, America?

Who are we?

Are we the words of our Declaration? The truths we hold self-evident?

Are we the bill of our rights? The First Amendment? The Second? The whole decalot?

Are we the ones who have given up trying to remedy an unpaid debt of a bitter land…

Word Choices are Signals to Others about What Type of Human Being You Are

On a recent episode of Lovecraft Country on HBO a female character named Hippolyta time or dimensionally travels through a machine she discovers and encounters an afro-female presenting-android-alien race that gives her the ability to name herself whatever she chooses. Using their technology, she travels the multiverse as a backup dancer for Josephine Baker, a warrior, an explorer, a wife, and finally back home to be a mother. It was an awe inspiring romp that examined the freedom power and possibility of words and self-declaration. No one and nothing exists in the space she has found who can diminutize her…

Bridgette L. Hylton

She/her. I write stuff. Published in Human Parts, Zora, AnInjustice!. #BLM

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